2017-08-30

Offline processing

Offline processing


This poem existed as only the opening line for a long time...  I knew how I wanted it to feel, but not what I wanted it to be about.

It was only when I realised I needed a reason for her working all night on her own that it really came together.

Q.  Why isn't she off living her life?
A.  Because she hasn't got a life!

Or rather that is the clich√©...  what her less technologically super-powered coworkers might think of her.

We know better, of course...






Offline processing

Gemma cracks a subroutine, her coffee cool.
Beyond night-mirrored windows she's aware
strip lighting makes a tableau out of her:
"Geek girl working late"
as the small white card would say
in the museum of her life
if she had one.

How Gemma's fingers blur with cramping speed
the body cannot serve the mind
it's need for harder, better, faster, stronger...
data flows, information not only wanting to be free
but it aching for it
and now another bug is falling to the power

that is Gemma. She does not look up at the clock
because hours are not for those
who live the millisecond slice.
Life is still too short
the icing on the cake is still a lie.

Gemma cracks a subroutine
electric death music in her ears
and she would volunteer
for upgrade in a second
for what is flesh, except strangely implemented:
a mesh of biochemic feedback loops
which she could live without,
still... time for a break.

Gemma takes a moment, smokes a quick one
on the roof and on this summer's night
leans back upon the coping stones
the city's haze and wasted light
do not let many stars burn through;
she knows they're there
not quite within her reach.

The breeze stirs Gemma's hair
and she imagines for a second
a human hand, a voice that asks:
"Are you really going to work all night?"

Well of course she is;
as long as there are bugs in the database,
she will dance the dance of general intelligence
applied to Turing complete.
As long as somewhere, impossibly far ahead,
the Omega Point is waving
as long as there is coffee in the machine

Gemma will reach for another subroutine.



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